Leicester

Man closes M1 in Leicestershire in apparent 'protest'

Traffic on M1, 13 June 2016
Image caption Police said "hundreds of thousands" of motorists were caught up because of the road closure

Thousands of motorists using the M1 have been disrupted by a man who camped on an information board gantry for more than 24 hours.

The man wrote a message on the gantry in what appeared to be some kind of protest, after he climbed up at about midday on Sunday.

He was arrested for causing a public nuisance when he eventually came down shortly after 16:00 BST on Monday.

Leicestershire Police said negotiators talked him down.

Part of the man's message alleged that someone "tried 2 kill me", and he also referred to "2 murder attempts".

Image caption Police said alternative routes became "highly congested" too

The motorway was closed southbound between junctions 23a and 22 earlier, and there was still congestion for hours after the incident despite it being reopened.

After the man came down, Assistant Chief Constable Phil Kay said: "This man is now in custody and therefore I am not able to say more at this stage about the circumstances that led him to climb the stanchion and remain there for so long.

"I am relieved that this protracted incident has now come to a safe conclusion, but I do not underestimate the incredible gridlock and massive inconvenience that this incident has caused to motorists throughout the UK."

He added he would like to express his "sincere sympathies to the many tens of thousands of people who have been seriously inconvenienced as a result of this incident".

Diversions were in place since Sunday lunchtime, but police said these alternative routes inevitably became "highly congested" too.

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